The new issue of Q magazine is a guitar heroes special, starring Jack White, Edge, Jimmy Page and dozens of other six string maestros. To celebrate, here’s the 20 greatest guitar solos ever, as compiled by a straw poll in the Q office and in no particular order.
The Guitar Heroes issue of Q magazine is on sale now.
1 - Pink Floyd, Comfortably Numb (from The Wall, EMI 1979)
What do you mean you prefer the Scissor Sisters’ version? David Gilmour’s languid solo sounds sounds just as effortlessly spectacular even when coupled with nonsensical imagery from Alan Parker’s rubbish 1982 film version of The Wall.
2 - Queen - Killer Queen (from Sheer Heart Attack, EMI 1974)
Brian May’s fretwork is upstaged by Freddie Mercury’s fur coat in this old Top Of The Pops performance.
3 - Led Zeppelin - Stairway To Heaven (from Led Zeppelin IV, Atlantic 1971 )
It is, of course, incredibly long, so let’s cut straight to Jimmy Page hammering his double-necked guitar.
Purpe haze - Jimi Hendrix
4 - Stone Roses, Love Spreads (from The Second Coming, Geffen 1994)
Talking of Jimmy Page – watch The Stone Roses’ John Squire do method Page in this US only video, which features a cameo from label-mate Beck.
5- Michael Jackson , Beat It (from Thriller, Epic 1982)
Metal fans will insist that Van Halen’s Eruption is the finest example of Eddie Van Halen’s fingerwork. Everyone else loves this.
PS. The quality is shocking but here’s Eddie playing live with Jackson.
6 - Guns & Roses , Sweet Child O’ Mine (from Appetite For Destruction, Geffen 1987)
The song, and the video, that made Slash a household name.
7- The Beatles , While My Guitar Gently Weeps (from The Beatles, Apple 1968)
George Harrison was never much of a guitar hero. Thankfully, Eric Clapton helped out with a memorable solo here.
8 - Steely Dan, Reelin In The Years (from Can’t Buy A Thrill, ABC 1972)
In the studio, session man Elliott Randall delivered what’s rumoured to be Jimmy Page’s all-time favourite guitar solo. Here’s the band on stage in the ‘70s.
9 - Muse, Knights Of Cydonia (from Black Holes And Revolutions, Warners 2006)
Matt Bellamy is on a one-man mission to keep the very notion of guitar heroism alive, cue ‘solo face, flying birds of prey and naked girls on unicorns at the appropriate moment in this video.
10 - Fleetwood Mac, Go Your Own Way (from Rumours, Warners 1977)
Lindsay Buckingham and friends on tour in 1997. There is footage of Buckingham and his gigantic afro in their ‘70s prime on Youtube but the link’s been disabled. It’s easy enough to find, though.
11 - Television , Marquee Moon (from Elektra 1977)
Television’s Tom Verlaine wanted to be John Coltrane but picked up a guitar instead of a saxophone. Here’s the reformed New York punks in Central Park last summer.
12 – Rage Against The Machine, Bullet In The Head (from Rage Against The Machine, Epic 1992)
Tom Morello rips and scratches like his guitar’s a turntable.
13 – Prince, Purple Rain (from Purple Rain, Warner 1984)
If Jimi Hendrix wore purple and high heels….
14- Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Like A Hurricane (from Live Rust, Reprise, 1979)
A triumph of punk rock noise over anything as tedious as technique, here’s Young on tour in 1978.
15 – AC/DC, Let There Be Rock (from Let There Be Rock, Atlantic 1977)
You’ll be expecting footage of Angus Young dressed as a school boy. You’d be wrong – here’s a rare outing for his choirboy get up.
16 – The Byrds, Eight Miles High (from Fifth Dimension, Columbia 1966)
The Byrds drone rock masterpiece was inspired by a trip to London, the “rain grey town” described in the track itself. This vide o is made up of footage shot by singer/guitarist Roger McGuinn on during a later trip to the capital.
17 - The Smiths, Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others (from The Queen Is Dead, Rough Trade 1986)
From the Smiths last ever show on 12 December 1986 at London’s Brixton Academy: guitarist Johnny Marr barely breaks sweat.
18 – David Bowie, Moonage Daydream (from The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars, RCA 1972)
Doesn’t Spiders’ guitarist Mick Ronson look like Spinal Tap’s David St Hubbins?
19 – Radiohead, The Bends (from The Bends, Parlophone 1995)
Johnny Greenwood drags the strings right off the fretboard during this vicious performance from Later With Jools Holland.
20 - The White Stripes, Ball And Biscuit (from Elephant, XL 2003)
An uncharacteristically flashy performance from Jack White. He should show off more regularly.
3:02 PM | 31/07/2007
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